Listen to Kenny Floyd’s theories on playing running back and you’ll hear a clear current of forecasting in his keys to success.
The Norwalk senior might not be the area’s fastest tailback. He’s not the biggest, either.
But few, if any, break more long touchdown runs than Floyd, who says his greatest assets as a runner are his vision and ability to predict where a defense is headed before darting in another direction.
“My quarterback (Chase Onken) was telling me I take the handoff slower than anyone else on the team, and that’s because … I’m looking to see how the blocks are setting up,” said Floyd, who earned all-state honors last season when he rushed for 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns. “More than anything, I like to predict what the defense is going to do. I figured out a while ago that (defenders are) predictable with their motions.”
Floyd, a 3.4 student who takes advanced courses, plans to use his football and forecasting skills in the future. He attended summer camps at Iowa State, Northern Illinois, North Dakota, Southwest Baptist, Valparaiso and St. Cloud State.
The common thread with those six schools? They all offer Floyd an opportunity to pursue a career in meteorology. He wants to work one day in the national severe weather center.
“Every day you’re dealing with severe weather and people’s lives can potentially be in your hands,” he said. “It’s a high-pressure job, and I like that.”
The 6-foot, 190-pound senior is off to a fast start this season with 540 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in three games. His 12.3-yard average is tops in the state among players with at least 25 carries.
Floyd broke loose two weeks ago for a career-long 90-yard touchdown run against Dallas Center-Grimes.
“He’s not the fastest guy on the team,” Norwalk coach Paul Patterson said. “In fact, he’s probably not in the top five as far as speed goes. But for whatever reason, you can’t catch him on the football field. He seems to have the ability to pull away from you.”
Floyd is hardly running by himself during the season’s first month. Running backs around the area are showing off big-play skills and racking up prodigious numbers.
■ West Marshall’s Duncan Ferch leads the state in rushing with 927 yards through four games. The junior spent the past two seasons playing tight end while his older brother, Dalton, starred in the backfield for the Trojans.
“Anytime you change positions like that, there’s some natural instincts and feel that you get from playing,” West Marshall coach Ken Winkler said. “You can’t coach that and it’s a matter of getting comfortable and making moves that are instinctive. … It didn’t seem to take (Duncan) very long to (get comfortable at running back) and the adjustment seemed to be easy for him.”
■ Waukee sophomore Trevor Allen is shredding defenses in his first varsity season. Allen torched Valley for a 67-yard touchdown run on his first series of the season and hasn’t slowed down since. After four-touchdown performances against Marshalltown and Mason City, he leads 4-A in rushing scores with 10 and ranks second with 565 yards.
“We really thought he had some special skills, (but) I’m not sure you ever expect a sophomore to come in as a varsity player in his first (three) games and do the things he’s been able to do,” Waukee coach Scott Carlson said. “But we felt he’s a very special talent who has a chance to be an awfully good football player.”
■ ADM of Adel’s Jordan Grove leads Class 3-A in rushing with 748 yards and shares the 3-A touchdown lead with Floyd at 10. Grove topped the 200-yard mark in each of the first three games and ran for 308 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 21-14 win against Glenwood.
■ Woodward-Granger’s Andrew McCune turned in a 221-yard, four-touchdown performance last week in a 46-0 win against Guthrie Center. He leads Class A with 568 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.
SOME OF CENTRAL IOWA’S TOP RUNNING BACKS
SOME OF CENTRAL IOWA’S TOP RUNNING BACKS
Name, school, Carries, Yards, Avg., TD
Trevor Allen (Waukee), 67, 565, 8.4, 10
Colton Braunschweig (Madrid), 72, 538, 7.5, 5
Duncan Ferch (West Marshall), 97, 927, 9.6, 13
Kenny Floyd (Norwalk), 44, 540, 12.3, 10
Jordan Grove (ADM), 69, 789, 11.4, 10
Andrew McCune (Woodward-Granger), 64, 568, 8.9, 11
Zach Rubenbauer (East Marshall), 99, 732, 7.4, 9
The Register’s John Naughton, Andy Hamilton and Tommy Birch will host a live chat at 8 p.m. each Wednesday at DesMoinesRegister.com /HSInsider that focuses on high school sports. Join the discussion and tell the rest of the state about your favorite teams and athletes.